If you’re looking for benchmark Australian Chardonnay, at an amazingly reasonable price, here it is, from Yarra Valley Chardonnay maestro David Bicknell of Oakridge.
Medium-light straw colour; the bouquet laced with smoky sulfides, mineral undertones and struck-flint elements. Lemon, grapefruit and spice notes. The palate is tremendously intense and refined at the same time, focused and piercingly long, with a great combination of power and delicacy. Concentration, persistence and deliciousness. A smashing Chardonnay to match a top premier or even grand cru Burgundy. 98 points, Real Review.
P58 clone, hand-picked and sorted, whole bunch-pressed to French oak for wild fermentation, matured on lees for 10 months. Prophetically described as a late bloomer needing more time when tasted a year ago, now quite simply superb. Upper Yarra chardonnay at its best, with another level of complexity, depth and length achieved with unmatched finesse. 97 points, Wine Companion.
The 864 Funder & Diamond is no flash in the pan. Lime, white nectarine, honey and cashew, struck match and sweet spices. Medium bodied, a smooth glossy cruise through the mouth, with cool acidity, and a smoky quartz-like feel pulling it through the back palate. Delivers layers of complexity and interest, while sticking to the first rule of wine; being good to drink. Delightful. It’s in the slot now, though likely to improve further. 95 points, Wine Front (8/2017).
This has a very convincing fruit character but also shows an impressive glycerol and slippery texture. The flint is here, along with lime peel, candied lemon pith, some impressive fruit purity and a mouth-watering presence. It's a slightly more open-knit wine with more to offer. The vineyard DNA of power has been coaxed out into a fuller expression of deeper flavours set right in the peachy pleasure zone... 830 dozen made. 97 points, jamessuckling.com
Yarra ValleyThe Yarra Valley was first planted by the Ryrie brothers who explored a way through the Snowy Mountains to the Yarra Valley, planting grapes in 1838 just three years after the foundation of Melbourne. A wine industry (developed by Swiss Settlers particularly Hubert de Castella and Baron Guillaume de Pury in the 1850s) thrived during the gold rush era and heyday of the 19th century. However, the end of the gold rush brought the wine industry into decline and it was not until the 1970’s that the modern wine industry started up again. The region is probably Australia’s best-known cool-climate area, yet it is really a patchwork of meso-climates. This varied topography creates an incredible set of variables. Vineyards are planted on elevations of 50 to 400m on varying aspects and management programmes. The more exposed sites are subject to severe spring frosts and winds. Overall, the area experiences a relatively high rainfall pattern and is known for its temperature extremes during ripening. Site selection is crucial, with the best vineyards often located where the original vines were once planted, generally on sandy clay loams and gravels. The Yarra Valley is well known for high quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Blends with Shiraz increasingly garnering attention. Sparkling wine production is also extremely important, with many of Australia’s finest examples produced in the region.